Youth Scene: Strikers take second

The Strikers FC-South Coast girls' Under-14 team of Huntington Beach traveled for an international tournament in Sweden, and returned with a second-place finish.

The team's journey began May 26 and ended with a championship game appearance June 1.

Strikers FC-SC was the lone team from the U.S. to be invited to compete at the Lennart Johansson Academy Trophy in Solna, Sweden. Led by Head Coach Sean Melendez, assistant coach BJ McNicol, Team Manager David Hallworth and South Coast Strikers President Marissa Pena, the team joined 24 teams from 14 countries at the tournament.

Following opening ceremonies May 30, the Strikers won its tournament opener, 2-1, against TPS Finland. The team played two games May 31, defeating Akershus of Norway, 3-2, before dropped its first game, 3-0, to Club Madrid de Futbol Feminin of Spain. The two wins, however, sent Strikers on to the semifinals round.

In the semifinals, Strikers defeated the host club, AIK of Sweden, 3-2, which sent the locals on to a spot in the tournament finals against Club Madrid. Strikers FC-SC was edged, 1-0, in the final.

The Strikers FC-SC girls' U14 team that finished runner-up at the tournament is: Gillian Ortin, Giselle Garcia, Giuliana Morger, Jillian Erwin, Kaitlyn Fujimori, Katie Wong, Kayce Marchak, Kayla Gonzalez, Kekoa Nelson, Kellie Hallworth, Lauren Paz, Maddie Louderback, Nicole Soto, Sabrina Monfils, Taylor Becker, and Vanessa Buso.

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Sand Soccer

The North Huntington Beach Futbol Club won the girls' Under-16 division championship Sunday at the HB Beach Sand Soccer Tournament at the Huntington Beach City and State beaches. NHB defeated Real Madrid, 7-0, in the division title game.

The NHB U16 girls' team is: Yvonne Martinez, Sarah Crotwell, Kiana Dinsmore, Leah Williams, Mackenna Wigney, Amber Hadfield, Miranda Thomas, Addy Peterman, Jocelyn Ceccarelli, Sarah Steinhouse, Rachel Flory, Sawyer Koelsch, Kristen Sells and Ally Marnocha. The team is coached by Mike Koelsch.

Other division (Sea, Sun, Sand, Surf) winners from the HB San Soccer Tournament were:


U8: AC Brea –Red (Sea); AC Brea- B05 –Red (Sun).

U9: Canyon FC (Sea); Apple Valley (Sun).

U10: CDA Slammers–Dykes (Sea); Canyon FC (Sun).

U11: CDA Slammers White (Sea); CDA Slammers Black (Sun); Canyon FC (Sand).

U12: Apple Valley Storm (Sea); South Los Angeles United (Sun).

U13: Empire SC Orange (Sea); FC Impact Blue (Sun).

U14: Apple Valley White (Sea); California Futbol Club Heat (Sun).

U15: Rialto Fire B98 (Sea).

U16: Hemet Juventus (Sea).

U17: FC Impact (Sea).

U19: Riverside FC (Sea).


U8: Canyon United (Sea)

U9: So Cal Blues (Sea); PSC Los Al (Sun).

U10: Arsenal West (Sea); Temecula Valley Hawks (Sun); Costa Mesa Pride (Sand); Redlands Extra AYSO (Sand).

U11: Arsenal West (Sea); Irvine Pateadores (Sun); AYSO Region 120 Legends (Sand).

U12: Cerritos United (Sea); Laguna United (Sun); JUSA (Junior United Soccer Assn.) Cyclones (Sand); AYSO Region 120 Green Extreme (Surf).

U13: Arsenal West (Sea); Pacific Soccer Club Epic (Sun); JUSA Elite (Sand); Surf: Canyon FC.

U14: Sunburnt (Sea); Strikers FC Tustin-Campbell (Sun); Aliso Viejo Sonic (Sand).

U15: CDA Slammers Crowley (Sea); HB Pateadores (Sun).

U16: North Huntington Beach Franny's (Sea); NYSA (Nevada Youth Soccer Assn.) Las Vegas Swifts (Sun).

U17/19: Rialto Fire (Sea).

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Water Polo

Over the weekend of May 30-June 2, the Southern Pacific Zone (SOPAC) of USA Water Polo held their National Junior Olympic Age Group Qualification tournament at various pool venues throughout Orange County.

The SOPAC Zone is the largest zone for USA Water Polo, and boasts the most difficult qualification preliminary in lieu to the National Junior Olympic Water Polo Tournament which this summer will be held at Palo Alto and Stanford University.

Local club Vanguard Aquatics of Huntington Beach shined brightly over the course of the tournament, successfully qualifying every team from its age-group ranks. Junior Olympics is broken into two divisions of Championship and Challenge. Every Vanguard team qualified for the more difficult and competitive Championship division.

The 10-and-Under coed team claimed first place in its division by topping OC Water Polo, SoCal, North Irvine, Laguna Beach. Vanguard defeated North Irvine twice including 12-7 in the final. The 10U coed team is undefeated over the course of the year and routinely competes in 12U tournaments.

The 12U boys' Blue team, coached by Sasa Branisavljevic, also took the gold medal from the tournament, defeated traditional power SoCal Water Polo in the division final, 11-5.

More notable however, was the 12U Silver team, coached by local Huntington Beach product Ryan Camps, and their earning eighth place, overall, for the tournament. The placement guaranteed the team a spot in the Championship Division of Junior Olympics in late-July. The team's major victory at the tournament was an 8-5 victory over Riverside Water Polo which put the locals in position to qualify.

The 14U boys' Blue team, coached by Uros Dzelebdzic, was another Vanguard squad to took first in the that took first place, defeating Newport in the division final. It was the 14U Silver team that stole the show however, as the team, coached by Nemanja Jokanovic, placed seventh in the tournament and qualified for the Championship Division. The Silver overcame great obstacles over the weekend and had major victories against Huntington Beach Water Polo Club, 14-4, and Corona del Mar, 7-5, in the seventh-place game.

What is most notable about the weekend is that no single club in the common era format of qualifying has ever swept every age division for the boy's side of the zone. The 10s, 12s, and 14s from Vanguard all captured an unprecedented first-place for the qualifying tournament and each was able to lock in a No. 1-seed for the upcoming National Junior Olympic Tournament. No other club has had every team it entered into the qualifying tournament qualify for the Championship Division for Junior Olympics.

Additionally, Vanguard will send a 10U girls' team to Junior Olympics.

For information on the program's age divisions, visit

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